Stop in to P-2's Irish Pub on a weekend, and there's always plenty of smiling faces, good food, and flowing beer.
It also has a wonderful patio area outside the double doors on the side of the bar, with tons of space dotted with chairs, tables and umbrellas, and a stage with a tent over it.
And nestled beyond that is the Franklin Dairy Music Hall, which is looking forward to an exciting summer full of music (see below for full schedule). The hall was aptly named for the dairy processing plant that was housed in the warehouse-like building behind P-2's for decades.
History of the Franklin Dairy
According to the popular Louis J. Simmons' Tupper Lake history book "Mostly Spruce and Hemlock":
"Franklin Dairy was organized in 1932 by Elzear DuMoulin and Dorise Sears, who acquired the brick building at 32 Pine St., downtown, originally built for a commercial garage. They remodeled the building, installed pasteurizing and bottling machinery, and operated successfully for more than a quarter century.
"In January, 1959, Floyd Bashant of this village purchased the business from Mrs. Pearl DuMoulin, who had operated it for a time after the death of the founders. He operated it until April 12, 1968 when Franklin Dairy was sold to Jay Skiff, who directed its operation until his death on March 15, 1976.
"Steadily mounting operating costs, including the heavy expense of necessary equipment, requires a larger volume of business than this area will generate, however, and all bottling and milk processing in Tupper Lake was terminated. Preparation and packaging are now done in the plant of Carthage Altamont Milk Co. and milk is trucked to Tupper for distribution."
And in her book "Rising from the Swamp" about the Tupper Lake Junction, Carol Payment Poole describes her memories of the business:
"I still remember the smells and sounds of the dairy. During my first six years, I lived next door to the plant. In the summer, I would walk by the large, open doorway, listening to the loud hum of the machinery and peering in to watch the glass bottles clinking along on a conveyor of round metal discs. The bottles were washed and rinsed before the white, frothy milk was pumped into them. Moist air drifted from the open door, along with the musty odor of fresh milk."
P-2's takes over
The plant closed in the 1980s. Joseph "P-2" LeBlanc, who had run a pub called Al's Lounge next door at 31 Main St. since 1966, bought the building after that and used it for cold storage for years.
His daughter Michelle has since taken over running the pub, renovating it to have an Irish pub look and renaming it P-2's Irish Pub in honor of her father who passed away in 2009. Michelle's partner Rick Donah manages the business.
P-2's started hosting a regular concert series, but Michelle and Rick soon realized they could only fit a few musicians in the bar area of the business, and some of the bands had equipment they weren't willing to use outside. Rick suggested they clean out the dairy and convert it to a concert hall, which they started doing in 2010.
Dairy converts to music hall
They had let the Tupper Lake Heritage Museum borrow the Franklin Dairy sign for a while, but they got it back to use as a decoration in the new music hall. It even has a three-digit phone number, as were used decades ago.
And there's a few other historical pieces that are used around the concert space, including milk cans and a sign that the Franklin Dairy used to hock their goods at local campgrounds.
The dolly that dairy workers used to haul milk jugs and crates around the space with is now a stand to hold a sign indicating this is a place to see live music.
There's also other Tupper Lake nostalgia adorning the walls, including a trail sign from Big Tupper and a sign welcoming hunters that used to hang in the Wheel Inn, a now-defunct bar that used to run across the street.
Moosic and events
Michelle and Rick have been hosting music at the dairy for about five years, and they say they've been happy with how popular it's been, often drawing 300 to 400 guests, and even more the weekend of Woodsmen's Days. Each year they host a big "Rock Show" Woodsmen's weekend, and the place is overflowing with revelers after the greased poll wraps up.
In addition to regular concerts, they have also hosted events like class reunions, retirement parties (including my dad's!), Woodsmen's Days banquets, and a Haunted Dairy party each year that also serves as their halfway to St. Patty's Day party.
They're still working on the space. They are in the middle of refinishing the bar, and they are considering investing in more renovations so they can hold more events in the space throughout the year.
And they have a great lineup of music to look forward to this summer! Here's the full schedule:
P-2's IRISH PUB
Miller LITE Proudly Presents
2016 Summer Music Series
Saturday, June 25 - P-2's Tinman/Toughman Craft Beer Tent at 10 a.m.!
Saturday, July 2 - Classic Rock Night featuring the band Legend - 9 p.m.
(TLHS Class of 1996 Reunion Party 4 to 9 p.m. - Patio/Tent)
Friday, Aug. 5 - TLHS Class of 1956 Meet-N-Greet (60-year reunion)
Saturday, Aug. 13 - Jonathan Foster - Americana Folk Show - 7 p.m.
ROCK THE ARC: FLAME, 31 and Mandolin, Reflections at the Tupper Lake Municipal Park - P-2's Craft Beer Tent, live music, fireworks at the Tupper Lake Municipal Park. 1 to 10 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 27 - Mountain Challenge Weekend Party
Saturday, Sept. 3 - P-2's Jamboree featuring The Durham County Poets, local musicians and local craft beer tastings! - 4 to 11 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 10 - P-2's 9th Annual Golf Classic & Patio BBQ at noon. BBQ, awards and entertainment at 4 p.m. Sign up your team of four at the pub or Tupper Lake Golf Course.
Thursday, Sept. 15 - Fall Open Mic Night w/ Jim Boucher - 8 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 17 - Guinness presents P-2's Halfway to St. Patrick's Day Party featuring Sutter Kain - 9 p.m. Franklin Dairy
Thursday, Oct. 15 - P-2's Harvest Moon Open Mic Night hosted by Jim Boucher 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 29 - The Haunted Dairy (3) Party featuring classic rock by Legend. Doors open at 8 p.m. * Door prizes, giveaways and at 11 p.m., P-2's awesome costume contest!
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